So you’ve decided to start homeschooling. That’s an awesome decision! Way to go Mom and Dad! But if you have never done this before it can be a very daunting task. Don’t worry though, if we can do it so can you! So how do you start homeschooling?
First, Write Down why you want to Start Homeschooling
There are many different reasons that people start homeschooling. Maybe it is because your child is a fast learner and gets bored in class. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it is because of religious reasons or maybe you just want to get your child(ren) out of government schools and spend more time with them. No matter what the reason is, write it down!
Believe me, while homeschooling your children is very rewarding, there will be days that you question your sanity! Days that you question why you are doing this. It’s during those times that you need to go back to your list and remember why you decided to start homeschooling.
- We wanted to spend more time teaching our kids our Christian values and beliefs instead of what the government school system thought was appropriate.
- We wanted our kids to be able to think and learn for themselves. Not just regurgitate answers to a test.
- Our oldest is a very fast learner and would often get bored in class. This gave him time to become a distraction to other kids.
- Our 2nd oldest is a slow learner. It would often take him longer to grasp a concept and the teacher would move on before he really understood what he was learning.
- The school spent more time with our kids than we did and we didn’t like that.
- Common core is really becoming a hot topic issue and we didn’t want our kids to be a part of that.
What about the Legal Stuff
So you know why you want to homeschool but what about the legal stuff. It really depends on where you live as each state has different laws. A great resource for this is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Among all of the great things they do for the homeschooling community, they provide a list of laws and requirements for each state.
While you can join the HSLDA, they also offer a ton of free resources so check them out.
Join a Local Homeschool Co-op
Look for a local homeschool co-op. When you first start homeschooling it is great to have a support group that you can bounce questions off of or just vent with. It is also great way to get some time away from your kids!
I’m sure all co-ops are different but ours meets every Friday for 2 semesters a year (Spring and Fall). There are many different “classes” for the kids to choose from and they are all parent led.
Erin has taught Story Time Science for a few years and this coming semester she will be teaching a homesteading class. I just recently started teaching as well. The first semester was a Wilderness Survival Class. Then it was a Ham Radio class and this semester will be Intro to Computer Programming.
Some people decide that joining a co-op is not for them and that is quite all right! I just recommend that you at least give it a try. You can probably find a local co-op by searching for “
Decide on your Teaching Style
Many people that are new to homeschooling go straight for the government school classroom type structure just because that is what they are familiar with. And there is nothing wrong with that!. Just remember that there are a few different ways you can do things.
You can go with the traditional teacher led classroom setting where which is very similar to a normal government school. Just remember to be flexible. It doesn’t always have to be taught way.
I may or may not be speaking from personal experience here but sometimes both you and your child will end up crying over some math worksheet. Take that time to realize that you both probably need a break or even a chance to go outside and play a little. Not something you would normally do in a government funded school!
Most parents who follow this style of learning opt to purchase curriculum to teach by. We strictly used Alpha Omega when we first started homeschooling. It helped us have the confidence to get through that first year. We still use it sometime, just not for everything.
On the other hand you have those that unschool their children.
Think of unschooling as letting your child run free to learn through living. There is no standard curriculum. As a matter of fact, there is no curriculum at all. Your kid learns math by counting rocks in the garden or while they help you build a chicken coop. This really allows them to learn very practical skills and knowledge.
You also encourage them to learn about things that interest them. For instance, if your kid has an interest in music then get them piano lessons. If they are interested in computers then take them to a coding class.
Teach to your Child’s Learning Style
The great thing about homeschooling your children is that you can decide what is best for you and your family!
Your child’s learning style will greatly dictate how you go about teaching. Some people are visual and some are hands on. And as you know, not every kid is the same. So you may teach your 6 year old son differently than you teach your 10 year old daughter.
Our family is a mix of both traditional and unschooling.We teach math, grammar and spelling with a more traditional approach but everything else is very practical. Most of it actually comes naturally when you live on a farm! They don’t just learn math when helping build a chicken coop but they also learn how to use tools properly. They learn science through gardening and animal husbandry.
Teach Your Child to Learn
One of the reasons I love homeschooling is that I can teach my children to learn. Think about that for a second! Government schools teach kids to pass tests. They teach them to regurgitate information that is fed to them. But what happens when that information is no longer being fed to them?
In the real world we aren’t spoon fed the information we need to survive. If anything we are spoon fed the information that the main stream media wants us to be fed. If we want to learn we have to do it on our own. If we want the truth we have to figure it out ourselves. Government schools don’t teach you how to do that. But as homeschooling parents we can equip our kids to seek out the truth and truly learn on our own.
On that same note, if you are looking for a book that helps teach your children about logical fallacies take a look at The Fallacy Detective. We highly recommend it!
Making the decision to start homeschooling is a huge undertaking but it’s an honorable one. You don’t need a PhD in child psychology or a masters in teaching to do it. You got this! Remember to get connected with a good support group or co-op and don’t forget to look back at your list of reasons as to why you are doing this every once in a while. Of course you can always come back here to follow along with our crazy stories and see how our school year is going.
Leave a comment below with any advice you have learned on your journey or let us know how you go about teaching your kiddos!